Hazmat team called out after reports of vapour at transfer station

The Abbotsford facility on Valley Road, and the nearby recycling depot, have been evacuated.

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service crews gather at the Matsqui Transfer Station on Valley Road following reports of a blue vapour in the area.

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service crews gather at the Matsqui Transfer Station on Valley Road following reports of a blue vapour in the area.



Employees at the Matsqui Transfer Station on Valley Road and the nearby recycling depot were evacuated on Tuesday afternoon after a hazardous material was emitted during compacting.

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service was called to the scene at about 1 p.m. and, when crews arrived, they noticed a whitish-blue vapour in the transfer facility.

Fire Chief Don Beer said the vapour was drifting south toward the recycling depot.

The area was evacuated, and traffic along Valley Road – located off Highway 11 – was shut down.

Beer said the material came from an unmarked container that split open during compacting and then mixed with water to create a reaction.

A Hazmat (hazardous materials) team determined that the material was acid-based. It was neutralized and the area was ventilated.

A remediation contractor then removed the container to dispose of it at an appropriate hazardous waste facility.

Beer said because the container was unmarked, its source is not known nor is the exact material that was inside.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Rivett said this type of situation is not uncommon at a transfer station.

“People throw a lot of things into the garbage that they shouldn’t, rather than taking it to a recycling that recycles hazardous materials.”